born 1936 in Landshut, southern Germany, worked from 1957 to 1965 as a window dresser in Barcelona, Canada und Geneva before moving to New York to become a photographer. In 1970 he returned to Germany and became known for his charakter studies of artists, politicians and famous names from the world of arts and letters. For decades he as portrayed animals and flowers with the same intensity.
A passionate explorer of physiognomy, Walter Schels sets out to make the essence and personality of a figure visible in the photograph. In various long-term photographic series, blind people, the disabled, prematurely-born children and young trans* people, for instance, Schels has pursued exceptional situations in human life. He has recieved many awards for his series depiction hospice patiients shortly before and after their death, in cluding the Hansel Mieth Prize, the World Press Photo Award, a gold medal fom the Art Directors Club, Germany and a Lead Award.
Walter Schels has lived and worked since 1990 in Hamburg. He has published various books and his works are includede in many siginificant art collections and have been shown in countless exhibiitons in Germany and wordlwide, including the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden, the DZ Bank in Frankfurt, the Wellcome Collection in London, C/O Berlin, the Mori Art Museum inTokyo, the House of Photography at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg, the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt and the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich.
"Walter Schels' gaze is profoundly searching, empathetic, and despite its close-up vision (...) maintains respectful discretion" F. C. Gundlach